The Northern Coast of Peru is known for its world-class waves and is one of the best places to surf in South America. Many experienced surfers flock to Mancora to spend weeks soaking up the sun and waves, it has also become a very popular destination for travelers who have just completed a trek to Machu Picchu and need a bit of rest.
Tour companies have been catching onto activity-based destinations and surfing is definitely a popular activity. However, one tour company has taken a step further and aims to help inner city kids. Llama Expeditions, based in San Francisco, is now offering tourists an opportunity to take a surf-based tour and give back through a partnership with Casa Generacion.
Casa Generation is a non-profit organization that helps kids from Peru's inner cities by plucking them from tough neighborhoods and introducing them to surfing. For many of these kids they have not seen their own coastline, and with Casa Generation they learn to surf with aspirations to compete on a global level and become instructors.
If you visit Lima you cannot help but notice the number of children on the streets. It is estimated that over 5,000 children are living on the streets, either leaving due to a form of abuse or they have been sent out to work and cannot return home unless they have money. It is a growing issue and many children become susceptible to further issues such as drugs or prostitution. Many of the children who enter the Casa Generacion program are hoping to escape from these issues.
Llama Expedition is donating a portion of the tour fee to Casa Generacion’s safehome for kids in San Bartolo - one of two safe homes the organization has created (the second being Veronica House, a home established for girls and young women living on the street).
The San Bartolo house was established in 2005 and now houses twenty children. These children now attend school and weekly music and art classes in the house. A fresh start for kids, they are geographically in a new place as they live on the Coast. Surfing is integral to the culture as the home is located on the beach.
One of Casa Generacion's success stories is Yeferson Bellido, who was once a child begging on the streets of Lima. He participates regularly and national surfing competitions and is currently fifth in Peru. While surfing is important in his life, he is also in college studying architecture.
Casa Generacion is open to volunteers from around the world and is very flexible with time so choosing a volunteer vacation at one of the homes with the kids, construction and other areas are possible. The only request is to have passion to help these street children. If you are interested it is best to contact them directly with details of your travels.
Many organizations around the world support the organization. They are currently raising money for an annual holiday party they have for 300 street children around Peru to ensure that even homeless children can celebrate the Peruvian holidays.
On December 22, Casa Generacion will host a traditional party with all the local dishes including rice with chicken, turkey and desserts. After dinner there will be gifts for the children.
The per person (double occupancy) rate of $3,500 is for a group of 8 to 10 for trips in 2012. Those requesting a single room pay an extra $500. Included are accommodations, airport/hotel transfers, carbon-offsetting for included flights, English-speaking guides, some meals and shuttles as required by the itinerary. Optional activities (for an extra fee) include surfing lessons with the former street kids, raft fishing, horseback riding and zip lining.